Children's reading lists

11 film and TV adaptations to watch this Christmas

From classic tales to pantomime-style capers, here are eleven must-watch film and TV adaptations this Christmas. 

Father Christmas

Watch it: Saturday 23rd December at 12.25pm on Channel 4

Raymond Briggs’ well-loved picture book is brought to life for TV in this animated short that has entertained generations. Watch as Grumpy old Father Christmas navigates the other 364 days of the year, feeding his pets, doing chores and taking a holiday, in a hilarious effort to live a normal life. This illustrated tale is perfect family viewing as you get ready for the big day.

Read it: Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

The Borrowers

Watch it: Sunday December 24th at 3.35pm on C4 Christmas

Join our favourite little people in this live-action fantasy based on Mary Cook’s original story. Starring John Goodman, this comedic adventure follows the Borrowers, a tiny family who live beneath the floorboards of an old house. Despite warnings, heroine Arrietty ‘borrows’ from the giant human beings, only to accidentally make friends with a real-life human boy.

Read it: The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Charlotte’s Web

Watch it: Christmas Day at 3.30pm on W

On a farm in Somerset County, Maine, a small spider hatches a plan to save her piglet best friend from being taken away to an abattoir. Dakota Fanning leads the live-action and the all-star voice cast includes Julia Roberts as Charlotte the spider, Steve Buscemi as Templeton the rat, John Cleese as Samuel the sheep and Oprah Winfrey as Gussy the goose. This charming animal-filled charade is adapted from E.B White's classic book.

Read it: Charlotte's Web by E.B White

Doctor Who Christmas special

Watch it: Monday 25th December at 5.30pm on BBC1

Two Doctors stranded in a forbidding snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. A British army captain, seemingly destined to die in the First World War but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor's story. In the final chapter of the twelfth Doctor's epic adventure, he must face his past to decide his future. Along the way he realises the resilience of humanity, discovering hope in his darkest frozen moment. It is the end of an era, but the Doctor's journey is only just beginning.

Read it: Dr Twelfth by Roger Hargreaves

Moomins on the Riviera

Watch it: Monday 26th December at 5.20am on Channel 4

Early Boxing Day risers can enjoy a Nordic-style treat featuring Tove Jansson’s lovable characters. Hop aboard with the Moomins as they set sail for the Riviera, and enjoy the gorgeous colours and vintage hues along the way. Snorkmaiden is bewitched by the attention of a socialite and learns a thing or two about jealousy in this charming folk-tale, with hints of French glamour.

Read it: Tales from Moomin Valley by Tove Jansson

 Little Little Women

Watch It: Tuesday 26th December & Wednesday 27th December at 8pm, Thursday 28th December at 8:30pm on BBC1

Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and a country deeply divided, Little Women is a coming of age classic. It follows the lives of the four very different March sisters from childhood to adulthood. Touching on issues ranging from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first loves and even grief Little Women explores what it means to be young women. This BBC adaptation is broadcast on three consecutive days over Christmas in a production that’s one of 2017’s most anticipated.

Read it: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong

Watch it: Saturday December 30th at 7.10pm on BBC1

From the Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre team – responsible for last year’s Peter Pan Goes Wrong production – comes another hilarious Christmas must watch. This new adaption of A Christmas Carol is a pantomime-like affair documenting the fictional struggles faced by an amateur theatre group as they attempted to stage the JM Barrie classic.  A fun treat for all the family, there are no Scrooges allowed while watching this comedic caper.

Read it: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Alice in Wonderland

Watch it: Saturday 30th December at 6.20pm on BBC2

Take a trip down the rabbit hole in Disney’s far-out, fantasy adventure starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska. Alice has no memory of Underland, except sometimes in her dreams. Her life takes a turn for the unexpected when, at a garden party for her engagement, she spots a certain white rabbit and tumbles down a hole after him. Reunited with her friends the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, Alice learns it is her destiny to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.     

Read it: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Sherlock Homes

Watch it: Sunday 31st of December at 9.00pm on ITV2        

When a string of brutal murders terrorises London, it doesn't take long for legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, played by the charismatic Robert Downey Jr., and his crime-solving partner, Dr. Watson (Jude Law), to jump on the case. Join in this battle of wits with a new nemesis whose plot is a threat to the country, in this adaptation of the renowned Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries.

Read it: The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Peter Rabbit’s Christmas Tale

Watch it: Stream on IPlayer

Inspired by Beatrix Potter's classic, this animation sees Peter and his friends Benjamin and Lily share a series of exciting adventures. In this special Christmas story, Mr Bouncer gets too sick to make the important holiday supply delivery, so Peter and Benjamin take it upon themselves to brave a blizzard - and Mr Tod - to get the job done and meet a new friend along the way. Little ones will love this bunny-filled, Christmas adventure which you can stream on demand.

Read it: The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Danger Mouse: Yule Only Watch Twice

Watch it: Stream on IPlayer

It’s a double-length Christmas adventure for Danger Mouse and his sidekick Penfold and this time they’re guests on a special festive episode of the Jimmy Camel Show, The Danger Mouse Celebration Episode. Danger Mouse and Penfold are on the sofa, but Penfold is suspicious. Shouldn't they be doing something else right now? Jimmy shows them clips from previous episodes, focusing on DM's recklessness and Penfold's uselessness. Is Jimmy going to drive a wedge between them? It certainly seems that way...

Read it: Danger Mouse, License to Chill by Ernest Penfold

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